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26 Sep, 2016 03:57

Trump vows to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after meeting Netanyahu

Trump vows to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after meeting Netanyahu

Republican nominee Donald Trump pledged to recognize Jerusalem as the “undivided capital” of Israel if elected president as he met with Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, while Hillary Clinton told the Israeli PM she would oppose BDS and UN meddling.

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Trump and Netanyahu met on Sunday at Trump’s residence behind closed doors. Trump was accompanied by his son-in-law and a campaign adviser, Jared Kushner, while Netanyahu brought Israel’s Ambassador to US, Ron Dermer. After the 90-minute meeting at Trump Tower, Netanyahu also paid a visit to the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, who is staying at the W New York Hotel in Union Square.

According to Israeli sources cited by Haaretz, by agreeing to go to several locations, the Israeli PM took into consideration the stringent schedule of the nominees who are preparing for the first presidential debate scheduled for Monday.

While the media was not allowed in to the Trump-Netanyahu meeting, the Republican’s campaign issued a statement, saying that Trump pledged to develop “extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries” if elected president.

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Apparently, to cement the “unbreakable bond” and “special relationship” that Israel and US enjoy, Trump said he would seek to revise the US official stance on the status of Jerusalem.

“Mr. Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People for over 3,000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel,” the statement reads.

In a Jerusalem Embassy Act (JEA) passed by the Congress on October 23, 1995, the legislators call Jerusalem “undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected,” urging the executive branch to recognize Jerusalem as “the capital of the State of Israel” and to move the US embassy there. 

The congressmen used the premise that Israel, as well as any other nation, “may designate its own capital,” calling Jerusalem “the spiritual center of Judaism”.

The law, however, has never come into effect, with The Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel saying that the Congress overstepped its authority by meddling in a foreign policy matter. Since its introduction, White House administrations repeatedly issued presidential waivers on relocation citing security concerns.

The majority of countries do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with the foreign missions preeminently located in Tel Aviv. Israel seized control of the East Jerusalem after a Six Day War of 1967. Palestinians long to make East Jerusalem their own capital.

Apart from the Israeli-Arab conflict, Trump and Netanyahu also discussed “at length” Israel’s “successful” experience in building a border fence, a 708-kilometer long security barrier in the West Bank along the Green Line, which Palestine criticized as an “apartheid wall.”  The Republic nominee is eying to build a similar kind of wall at the border with Mexico, the construction of which he says would be financed by Mexico.

The Israeli PM’s meeting with Clinton, who was also attended by her advisor Jake Sullivan and Israel’s Dermer, lasted about 50 minutes.

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“Secretary Clinton stressed that a strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States because we share overarching strategic interests and the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism,” says a campaign statement, released after the meeting by her campaign.

The Palestinian-Israeli should be resolved through direct negations, she stated, adding that she would oppose “any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the UN Security Council.” 

Clinton also reinforced her “commitment to countering attempt to delegitimize Israel, including through the BDS movement.”

The former secretary of state is said to back the two-state solution to the conflict, which has for years been stalled because of Israel’s illegal settlement policy in the West Bank and Palestinian-Jewish violence.